Vikas Gowda is one of four Olympic medal aspirants who, with the support of Olympic Gold Quest (OGQ), is campaigning on Ketto to raise funds and compete with his international counterparts.
The 6-feet-9-inches-tall Vikas Gowda has several feathers in his cap – a Major in Mathematics from the University of North Carolina, a silver medal at the 2010 Commonwealth Games in Delhi, a national record and an eighth finish at the 2012 London Olympics. With an already luminous career, this 31-year-old discus thrower and shot putter is all set to make India proud at the upcoming Commonwealth Games and Asian Games.
You were the first Indian to ever enter the finals of a throwing event in the Olympics. How does that feel?
It feels good. I work hard and there is a lot that I want to accomplish.
You are a Mathematics Major from the University of North Carolina. How did you balance your time between academics and sports?
When I was in school it was tough to manage time. You have to prioritize and make sacrifices so you can succeed in both academics and sports.
How were you introduced to this sport?
My father introduced me to sports. He was a decathlete and national coach in India. I would go practice with him when I was a kid and that’s how I started.
Walk us through your training regimen.
I throw three to four times a week. I also lift weights, do sprints and plyometrics. There’s a lot of work that goes into preparing for the season.
How many hours a day do you have to practice?
I train a minimum of four hours a day but most days are about six hours.
What are the costs associated with your training?
There are a lot of costs associated with my training. Coaching, training equipment, access to facilities, supplements, proper diet, travel, medical, and rehabilitation require a lot of funds.
How would you compare the standard of training in India and that which is available abroad?
The standards in India are improving. Around the world it is very easy to access good training facilities. India has good facilities but not very many. When I was a kid growing up in Maryland, there were so many tracks and tennis courts, basketball courts, and other sports facilities within a ten-minute drive of my house.
What has been your biggest achievement yet?
I think my silver medal at the Commonwealth Games, making it to the finals at the London Olympics and winning gold at the Asian Championships in India are my biggest accomplishments.
How is crowdfunding important to you and other rising athletes?
It is very important. It shows the athlete that people care and want you to succeed. It’s going to help me bring my coach with me to Commonwealth and Asian Games.
Explain OGQ’s role in your life and career.
OGQ has played a very important role in my career. They believed in me when no one else did. Without them I don’t know if I would have reached this level.
What systems, structures and establishments do we need in India to give Indian athletes a better chance at winning at the Olympics?
I think the most important thing that can be done is making access to facilities easier. That will increase the talent pool and give India a better chance of winning medals in the Olympics.